CEDAR CITY— Road games at Florida and UNLV as well as home games with Utah State and Weber State highlight Southern Utah University's 2008-09 men's basketball schedule, Thunderbirds Coach Roger Reid announced Tuesday. Southern Utah opens the regular season against Division II Mesa State before heading to Florida to take on the Gators on Nov. 20.

"We're really excited to be able to get a game against a team of the quality of Florida," Reid said. "I have a great relationship with (Gators head coach) Billy Donovan and some members of his staff and that made it possible for us to get this kind of a game. They have a great program down there, winning those two back-to-back national championships (in 2006 and 2007) and they're expected to be among the elite teams in the nation again this year."

The Thunderbirds play at Utah Valley on Dec. 20 and at UNLV on Dec. 23.

"This is shaping up as a great schedule for us, with some very good competition both in our non-conference as well as in our conference games," Reid said. "The best players in our league were all juniors last year and the top three teams really didn't lose anyone so this will be a very good conference again. Then, in addition to Florida, we play Boise State and UNLV, a couple of NCAA tournament teams, Utah State, who is always very good under Stew Morrill; Weber State, Utah Valley, Sacramento State and Tennessee Tech, which are all good programs.

"We've also got a very attractive home schedule we hope our fans will enjoy," he added. "Getting Coach (Stew) Morrill to bring his team here is great for our program and it's really good to get Weber State back on the schedule; we need to play those teams every year."